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“New and improved” Just Play program takes over Savaii Sisifo schools

Hosted by Football Federation Samoa in association with the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture at Marist, Vailoa Palauli, the kids participated in activities where the key messages of the program were incorporated into the objectives of the games. Half of the children and staff involved were female, knocking down the barrier of gender inequality – an issue prevalent within the Pacific. Children and volunteers with special needs were acknowledged at the closing ceremony, encouraging social inclusion of all individuals irrespective of race, gender, religion, socio-economic background or abilities.
Just Play project manager Lynette Laumea Faaiuaso has seen the positive impact the program has had with children bringing “nius” to the festival as opposed to fizzy drinks. “The children have learnt through playing football and participating in the Just Play program, that making good choices and leading a healthy lifestyle is beneficial. I’d like to acknowledge the Just Play program partners – UNICEF, Football Federation Australia, AusAID, the Australian Government, the Australian Sports Commission, UEFA and OFC for funding this program and for their commitment to social change within the Pacific”.
Since its inception in 2009, Just Play has contributed to the improvement of Pacific Islander children’s lives through the implementation of structured football-related physical activities within schools and communities. The refreshed program format was rolled out in April 2014 and schools within the Savaii Sisifo district were one of the first to try out the new activities. There were seven participating schools including Tafua Primary School, Palauli Primary School, Satupaitea Primary School, Gataivai Primary School, Gautavai Primary School, Puleia Primary School and Sili Primary School.

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